Kevin O’Gorman: Former university professor sentenced for sex attacks
A former university professor who sexually assaulted seven young male students has been ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid community work.
Kevin O’Gorman committed the offences when he was working at Strathclyde university in Glasgow and Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh between 2006 and 2014.
The 46-year-old was also convicted of sending sexual communications to an eighth student.
Sheriff Alistair Noble put a tagging order on O’Gorman for six months.
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He was also placed under supervision for three years and put on the sex offenders register for five years.
O’Gorman, from Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, had denied a total of 19 charges against 11 young men.
He was acquitted of three of the allegations and convicted on all other charges last month.
During his trial, O’Gorman said his behaviour was inappropriate but not criminal.
And ahead of sentencing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, defence advocate Niall McClusky said his client, who suffers from stress and depression, maintained that position.
Sheriff Noble said he found the witnesses who gave evidence against the academic “truthful and credible”.
‘I was made to feel weak and powerless’
Following the hearing, one of O’Gorman’s students said the professor made online threats to whip him with a belt if he did not hit the grade bands.
“I used to laugh it off or try to change the subject,” said Colin Jordan.
“But there was one time in his office where he asked me to stand up and take my trousers down which I refused to do and that was the last time I ever saw him or was in an office alone with him.
“I never told anyone at the time because it was embarrassing. I was a 21-year-old man at university who had been made to feel really weak and powerless by a university professor who I thought had lots of power who could kick me out of university if I didn’t do what he said.”
The young student was made to feel uncomfortable when O’Gorman rested his hand on his leg for too long.
“His hand would be sitting very high up my thigh and would give a very tough squeeze and he had this fierce eye contact, which he wouldn’t just break away and it was really weird,” he added.
‘He groomed and abused me’
O’Gorman was “nothing short of a monster”, according to another former Strathclyde University student, Fraser Blevins.
He was groomed and abused by the academic when he was 17. Now 32, he accused the university of “turning a blind eye”.
“For me, it’s too late for Strathclyde University to say sorry – that would be nothing more than a PR move for them,” he said.
“Strathclyde had the chance to deal with things at the time but instead they swept it under the carpet and let O’Gorman move to another university and gave him a huge pay-off.”
The university announced it would hold an independent inquiry into its handling of past complaints of sexual misconduct against O’Gorman, following his conviction last month.
Mr Blevins said: “I am disappointed it wasn’t a custodial sentence. It’s difficult to imagine that man being free in the comfort of his own home.”
Strathclyde’s principal and vice-chancellor, Prof Sir Jim McDonald, said he was “determined that we will learn” from the case which “shocked and appalled” the university.
Heriot-Watt University’s investigations led to the criminal inquiry but it said it had also instructed an independent inquiry as part of a review of its policies.
Secretary Ann Marie Dalton-Pillay said: “The safety and wellbeing of all our students and staff is and always will be, our priority and we have robust procedures in place when professional standards are not met.”